click above to browse
through the current issue





Want to see your child's
work in print? The winner
will receive a �25 book voucher. Email: [email protected]sup.co.uk

TAKE RISKS AND LOSE WEIGHT

51% of children aged 7–12 years are not allowed to climb a tree without adult supervision


A recent review of PE lessons across Europe, Australia, and North and South America suggests that formal classes are having little effect on children’s weight.

Instead, the review of 26 studies of different PE programmes found that how children eat and play at home has more influence on their weight. However, school PE lessons were seen as extremely important in lowering children’s cholesterol levels and increasing fitness and lung capacity, reports Kate Devlin, Medical Correspondent for The Telegraph.

Obesity can shorten lifespans by eleven years


The report comes amid ministers’ concerns that obesity can shorten lifespans by 11 years, with official figures showing that one in three children aged 10 are overweight or obese.

On the subject of play, the publication of this review coincides with the launch of new guidance by Play England and the DCSF called ‘Managing Risk in Play Provision.’

Research from Playday 2008 shows that 51 per cent of children aged 7-12 years are not allowed to climb a tree without adult supervision and that 77 per cent of children and young people aged 7-16 would like more opportunities to take risks while playing.

In response to these statistics and further research, the latest guidance hopes to promote adventurous play and the inclusion of good and bad risks in playgrounds by incorporating such facilities as pools, skateboard and BMX tracks, and traditional park plants, including ones with mildly poisonous berries.

The Play England guidance notes that the lives of children have become much more restricted and controlled over the last 30 years but highlights that: “Reflecting the concerns of the most anxious parents by removing all risks” from the playgrounds is not the answer.

The authors advise: “It is unhelpful always to define ‘harm’ and ‘injury’ as negative . . . In daily life we respond to the concept of ‘harm’ in a highly nuanced way, particularly where children and young people are concerned. The phrase, ‘That’ll teach you!’ is an acknowledgement that self-generated harm can be a valuable form of instruction.”

“Adventurous play environments where children can test themselves and build their confidence without being exposed to unacceptable risks” are needed


Adrian Voce, Director of Play England, said: “We know that children want and need challenging play opportunities. This guide responds to these needs by promoting and describing a new approach to risk management that values the benefits to children of them being able to manage some risks for themselves. It should enable stimulating and adventurous play environments where children can test themselves and build their confidence without being exposed to unacceptable risks.”

The guide is a collaboration of practitioners, academics and play providers fully endorsed by leading play safety specialists and the Health and Safety Executive.

Useful links: www.playengland.org.uk